Friday, June 17, 2011

Not using "I" and"Mine"

When I teach, I often explain to my students that I like to use the first person when giving a direction, so that they can skip the step of translating my words into their own, and they can just silently (or out loud) repeat the same words for themselves, if they choose to.  For example, instead of saying, "Now, think of not stiffening your neck," I would say, "I am not stiffening my neck," and the student would then simply think, "I am not stiffening my neck." I also explain that in this way, we both derive immediate benefit, since I, of course, want to be thinking the same thing for myself.

Today, I'm wondering if the process could be made even simpler.  Might it be equally helpful not even to use the words "I" or "mine"?  Is it possible to avoid these words while I teach?  While I talk to my student?  While I think to myself?
Revised, subject-free version of those questions: Is it possible to avoid using the words "I" and "mine" while teaching?  While talking? While thinking?

One of the habits is to compulsively use complete sentences.  Another habit is to tend towards egoistic self-absorption.  Eliminating the subject from the sentence prevents those habits.

Experimenting with subject-free language:
  • Notice a habit.  For example: "Stiffening the neck" or "Holding the body up" or "Pulling down" or "Compressing the spine", etc.
  • Realize that there is now a choice: to continue the habitual direction, or to stop.
  • Make the choice: "Choosing to stop."
  • Change direction; give the new direction.  For example: "Not stiffening the neck" or "Not holding the body up" or "Not pulling down," or "Not compressing the spine", etc.
  • Or, framed in the positive: "Allowing fluidity" or "Releasing " or "Aiming up", etc.

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